Tube History

1959/62 Stock

1959-62 Stock Operated on:
1959 - 2000 Central line
1959 - 1974 Piccadilly line
1977 - 1986 Northern line
1985 - 1986 Bakerloo line

The 1959 and 1962 stock where similar and treated as one stock. The 1959 stock operated between 1959 and 2000 and the 1962 between 1962 and 1999.

The 1959 and 1962 stock where commissioned by London Underground after successful trials of the 1956 stock, these where mostly intended to replace the Standard stock which was ageing and in need of replacement, being in service since the 1920s. Both of these stocks were similar in appearance however the 1962 stock came with a series of improvements from the earlier running of the 1958 stock.

Initially intended for the Piccadilly line, the 1959 stock was diverted after seven trains where delivered, to the Central line to replace the Standard stock on the line which was becoming increasingly unreliable. These where transferred when the 1962 stock was implemented onto the Central line back to the Piccadilly line. The 1959 stock had a long life in service serving the Bakerloo, Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines within their lives, eventually being withdrawn in 2000.

The 1960 stock, however, although of a similar appearance to the 1959 and 1962 stocks was a separate stock entirely intended as a prototype to test fully automated Automatic Train Operation (ATO) in anticipation for the new Victoria line.

1956 prototype stock

Plans for a new rolling stock began in the late 1940s while the Standard stock was still operating on the Central and Piccadilly lines, the trains where approaching thirty years old and where in need of a replacement. The original replacement was intended to be called the 1952 stock, however, financial constraints hindered the commissioning of a prototype and the relevant funds where not available until 1957, with a production stock being commissioned in 1959.

Three seven-carriage 1956 stock trains where commissioned from three manufacturers, Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon, Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon, and, Metro-Cammell. The units supplied where similar in external appearance and where fitted with the same equipment, each company supplied a three-carriage unit consisting of a trailer and driving motor on each end, and a four-carriage unit with a similar configuration but an additional non-driving motor coupled.

The new units where similar to the 1938 stock, with the main differences, the body panels where left as unpainted aluminium rather than a painted steal, a rubber suspension was used on the bogies which reduced the number of parts that where needed to carry out routine maintenance and the lighting was provided by fluorescent tubes rather than incandescent bulbs. The front ends where flatter above the roof line and the destination blind was fitted over the front cabin door rather than below the cabin window, the controls where provided by Pneumatic Cam Motor (PCM) controller and was supplied by Associated Electrical Industries which where reliable on the 1938 stock.

The outer ends of the train where not fitted with automatic couplers, to allow for two trains to be coupled together in the event of an emergency without needing electricity, when delivered and the couplings had been modified the to allow the two build to work together. The motor generator set where different and required the electrical supply to the lines to be altered to 110v and 850Hz, however, the electro-pneumatic break was a similar design to the 1938 stock. The design of the stock was influenced by the issued with fluorescent lighting supply with the R stock which generated a loud magnetic hum, therefore a different frequency was chosen to ensure that it could not interfere with the line side lighting.

The motors where able to allow for three speed settings and a further speed setting being achieved by a weak field flag switch. The shunt mode was used within the depots and yards and was achieved by connecting resistance banks in series with the motors. When in series mode, resistance is removed in steps until the two motors where in series between the 600v supply, these trains had a top speed of 24km/h (15 mph). When in parallel mode the reconstructed motors in a parallel across the supply, which allowed the train to operation up to full normal speed, however the weal field flag switch allowed for a higher speed this was only to operated on the open sections of railways and its operation was visible from the outside of the train.

The first train began working on the Piccadilly line on 9 September 1957, with the remaining trains in service by April 1958. The trails proved a success and became a prototype to the 1959 stock, an order was placed for 76 seven-carriage trains with Metro-Cammell. The first unit entered service on 14 December 1959, and all 76 units where in service by 30 March 1962. The stock was similar in its appearance with a few alterations, there where just two headlights whereas the prototype 1956 stock was equip with five and was used to display the destination of the train. The 1956 stock was numbered as it was delivered, the series started at 40000, however when the 1959 stock arrived they where numbered from 1012 upwards, leaving space for the 1956 stock to be inserted into the beginning of the sequence when they had been modified to be compatible and interchangeable.

1959 stock

The 1959 stock was constructed by Metro-Cammell in Birmingham and where based on the 1956 prototype stock which was constructed from an aluminium alloy. The units had a long career, with some not being withdrawn until the year 2000 a full three years beyond their intended withdrawal date. During this career they served the Northern, Bakerloo, Central and Piccadilly lines.

The stock entered service on the Piccadilly line in 1959, however the units where transferred to the Central line to replace the lines Standard stock, which was becoming increasing unreliable; the Central lines version of the 1959 stock, the 1962 stock later took over the lines operations.

The Piccadilly line had opened an extension to Heathrow airport in the early 1970s which coincided with the introduction of a new rolling stock the 1973 stock. As a result the 1959 stock was transferred to the Northern line between 1975 and 1979 to allow for the 1938 stock to be withdrawn and scrapped from the line. Some 1959 stock trains where also transferred to the Bakerloo line during the 1980s to further allow for the withdrawal of the 1938 stock. The last service on the Piccadilly line was on 18 October 1979 on the Aldywich shuttle service.

The 1959 stock was considered distinctive because this was the first production stock for a deep-level tube railway that had not been painted, and had a clean silver exterior. However, the unpainted exteriors became jaded and dirty with the blue and grey interiors becoming dated quickly. The stock looked worn, and without the aesthetic red and green charm of the older stock nor the ambiance of the 1930s which made the 1938 stock more celebrated.

The units where mostly concentrated on the Northern line, by the mid 1990s and where getting old and required works attention. A haphazard minor refurbishment took place which entailed painting the blue and grey interiors white further to replacing the seat moquettes. The white interiors became very dirty by 1998 and the failure rate had risen to 1 in 3,000km (1,864 miles), making a replacement urgently needed.

The Northern line received a replacement to the 1959 stock and the thirty trains of 1972 stock in the form of the 1995 stock. The plan was to keep the 1972 stock to work alongside the new stock, with the trains receiving an extensive refurbishment which had been completed fro the services operating on the Bakerloo line, however, after one trial refurbishment on a Northern line service showed it was more cost-effective in the longer term to have a line operated by a single rolling stock. The withdrawal of the 1959 stock on the Northern line was a long drawn-out affair, the last passenger service operated on 28 January 2000 and was the last train that had a crew of a motorman and a guard.

A train was repainted in the ‘heritage‘ red a cream livery in 1990 to celebrate the centenary of the railway opening.

Several vehicles have been preserved in a variety of locations, including one complete four-carriage unit numbered 1304.

Driving Motor
Non-Driving Motor
Driving Motor
Privately owned
Shaftesbury, Dorset
Mangapps Railway Museum
London Underground
Morden depot
Alderney Railway
Privately owned
Shaftesbury, Dorset
Privately owned
Dilton, Wiltshire
Sutton Hill Railway
Shopland near Rochford, Essex
Police Training School
Gravesend, Kent

Key Dates

14 December 1959
First Piccadilly line service
25 July 1960
First Central line service (temporary)
1 December 1975
First Northern line service
5 October 1979
Last Piccadilly line service
28 February 1983
First Bakerloo line service
7 July 1989
Last Bakerloo line service
27 January 2000
Last Northern line service

1960 stock

The 1960 stock was intended to be used on the Central line, twelve motor carriages where supplied from Cravens and where paired with two converted Standard stock trailers to make up four-carriage trains. The production run of 338 motor carriages was shelved because of the time to assess the new features and the cost of converting the trailers, which where later replaced with trailers from the 1938 stock.

These where used as a test-bed for the introduction of Automatic Train Operation (ATO), where the control signals are relayed through the running rails and the control of the moving train, apart from the initial command to start when leaving a station is managed though a ‘back-box‘ controller. In preparation for Automatic Train Operation (ATO) to be implemented on the Victoria line, the section between Woodford and Hainault on the Central line was converted. Three trains where converted back to manual operation in 1986 and served the Epping to Ongar section of the Central line as a peak-time shuttle, the fourth train was converted into a track recording locomotive and still works on the network today. Another train is owned privately and is used on rail-tours over the London Underground network.

The 1960 stock was apart of a similar solution to the 1938 stock, consisting of twelve motor carriages construed by Cravens of Sheffield, incorporating a number of features which where anticipated for a major batch order of vehicles to replace the Standard stock in use on the Central line. The plan was to proceed with an order of 338 motor carriages, however, the new features took longer to evaluate than the available time and the refurbishment of the Central line was achieved by using the 1962 stock, which was based on the 1959 stock. Many of the design and features where incorporated into the 1967 stock which ran on the Victoria line from its opening.

Twelve aluminium-bodied motor carriages where ordered in 1958 from Cravens in 1958, each where equip with four traction motors, previous rolling stock had two traction motors. The motors where controlled by a Pneumatic Camshaft Motor (PCM) controller, where an air-operated camshaft controlled the switching of the motors which was governed by an accelerating relay, which proved reliable to control the two motors. To control the four motors without a re-design, pairs of motors where wired together in a seires and the control switch between the four motors operating in series the two pairs operated in parallel. To protect against wheel spin the controller automatically reset if one of the pair of motors began working faster than the other. Previously the bogies had been designed asymmetrically to ensure more weight was carried by the axle which was driven by the motor, the pivot was centralised to allow for every axle to carry a motor. Another innovation was the fully automatic couplers located at the ends of the trains and where not handled, previously trains where equip with ‘A‘ and ‘D‘ ends and could only be coupled by joining the ‘A‘ end to a ‘D‘ end on another carriage, this design caused various operating problems, particularly on the Central line when a train passed though the Hainualt loop it resulted in the train facing the wrong way. This problem was alleviated by duplicating the connections in the automatic coupler, allowing the trains to be coupled either way around. The carriages where equip with flat floors, rather than having a rising translation into the double doorways, to a steep curved floor 10.2cm (4in) higher at either end of the carriage over the bogies.

The first 1960 stock trains entered into service on 9 November 1960, the motor carriages where numbered 3900 - 3911, when delivered from Cravens the first carriages numbered 3900 and 3901 but where renumbered 3900 and 3901 before entering service, furthermore each train incorporated two refurbished Standard stock carriages. The two units where then coupled together to provide an eight-carriage train. The stock was initially planned to operate over the whole of the Central line, but was scaled back to the Hainault loop. A major factor for introducing the 1962 stock to the Central line rather than upgrading using the 1960 stock was the cost of refurbishing the Standard stock carriages that would be needed to provide the Central line service.

The 1960 stock carriages where initially coupled to two modernised Standard stock trailers, numbering 4900 - 4911, originally being numbered from 4000. The work to convert the trailers included the fitting of fluorescent lighting, the addition of door indicator lights on the outside of the carriages, and the painting of the exterior silver to match the unpainted aluminium of the motor carriages. Four of the trailers where constructed in 1927 and included two sets of double central doors, two of the carriages where rebuilt to allow for the addition of single doors at each end. The remainder if the trailers where from the 1931 back of Standard stock, these where built with extra single doors when they where constructed, four of these carriages where fitted with de-icing gear and carried a ‘D‘ below the running number to indicate this. The trailers where in need of serious maintenance by 1974 and the decision was made to replace them with single 1938 stock trailers marshalled between the two motor carriages, reducing the trains from to four to three carriages. The work to convert the trains included fitting two compressors into the trailers, where the previous Standard stock trailers had been fitted with one each, however the works where expensive and only three sets where completed.

Between 1975 and 1983 the Standard stock trailers where withdrawn and the converted 1938 trailers entered service, numbering 4921, 4927 and 4929. The discovery of asbestos in some of the motor carriages delayed the process, two further four-carriage trains where refurbished at Hainault depot between 1980 and 1981. A visible difference between the carriages was the trailers where painted white rather than silver and a sixth train was used for track recording. A further 1938 trailer carriage was converted, numbered TRC912, however it was never used and was scrapped in 2006 by Booths in their Rotherham plant.

Limited trials of Automatic Train Operation (ATO) in 1963 on the District line identified the lightly used route between Woodford and Hainault on the Central line would be an ideal testing ground for full Automatic Train Operation (ATO) in preparation for its introduction on the Victoria line. Five out of the six 1960-stock trains where converted for use with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) at Acton Works, the side doors to the drivers cabin where sealed to allow for access from the passenger saloon. The trains would be operated under a one-person-operation system, therefore the door controls where moved into the motor cabin, the control equipment was fitted underneath the central seats, and consisted of a ‘black-box‘ which interpretated signals from the two running rails which would be relayed by sensing coils mounted on the leading bogie. One rail was used to supply saftey information, which is received continuously and any failure to obtain any information would result in the trip-valve operating and stopping the train. The second rail was used to supply signal commands, including speed signals and instructions to start or stop the train, this information was only provided as it was needed. The train drivers position was renamed train operator, to reflect the changes to their role, where the train operator was now responsible for the opening and closing of the doors at stations, initiating the start sequence from the stations by pressing two buttons simultaneously; the remainder of the operations, stopping at signals and restarting the train when it was safe was automatic. The first automatic train entered service on 5 April 1964, with the automatic control equipment temporarily mounted in the passenger saloon between the first set of doors and the drivers cabin to enable engineers to monitor and adjust the system as experience was gained.

A unit was used to test a system of fully automatic train control between Woodford and Hainault in the early 1980s, the original equipment had reached its intended life expectancy in 1986 and three trains where converted for manual one-person-operation. One three-carriage train operated between Epping and Ongar on the Central line as a peak shuttle, this was closed in September 1994 and the 1960 stock was withdrawn from service at the same time.

One 1960 stock trains is still owned by London Underground and is used as a track recording unit, operating with a 1973 stock centre trailer. Asbestos contamination on the original 1960 track recording carriages led to them being scrapped and two retired motors where converted to replace them. A second unit is owned by Cravens Heritage Trains and is kept in Ruislip depot, occasionally being used for filming and rail-tours since its purchase in 1995.

Driving Motor
Non-Driving Motor
Driving Motor
London Underground
Northfields depot
4927 acually 1938 stock
Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
Cab only

1962 stock

The 1962 stock was constructed for use on the Central line by Metro-Cammell and the British Rail workshops in Derby. Each unit consisted of four vehicles with two driving-motors, a trailer and a non-driving motor, creating the formation DM + T + NDM + DM, a train normally consisted of two units working in multiple forming an eight-carriage train.

The stock would replace the Standard stock currently in operation on the line, and was urgently needed following two fires on Standard stock units, one in 1958 and the other in 1960 which resulted in the hospitalisation of passengers. These experiences and the rapidly increasing breakdowns hastened the need to replace these trains, which dated back to the 1920s.

An order to the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon produced 338 driving motors and 112 non-driving motors further to 169 trailers being constructed by British Railways from their workshops in Derby, producing a total of 619 carriages. Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon where in financial difficulty and in 1961 asked if they could be relieved from their contract, the order was subsequently transferred to Metro-Cammell and delivered as a continuation of the 1959 stock.

Metro-Cammell, as a part of their contract for the 1959 stock, where requested to construct an additional 57 non-driving motors to allow for eight-carriage trains of 1959 stock to be formed to replace the trains on the Central line, such was their urgency. The first 1962 stock train formed of eight-carriages entered service on 12 April 1962, with the entire fleet in service by 17 May 1964. When this was completed the 1959 stock was transferred back to the Piccadilly line, with the exclusion of the 57 additional non-driving motors which where integrated into the trains operating on the Central line, this allowed the Central line to operate an eight-carriage service accross all of its services. The trains where formed: DM + T + NDM +DM - DM + T + NDM + DM

The 1959 and 1962 stocks where virtually identical, the 1959 stock had been intended for use on the Piccadilly line however a series of improvements where introduced to the 1962 stock resulting from the experience with the earlier trains. A major improvement was the use of alternators for the auxiliary supplies using static rectification rather than motor generator sets, the drivers brake valve used a more reliable poppet valve rather than rotary type face valves and the electro-pneumatic valves used plug in connectors which sped up replacements and reduced the number of faults due to poor electrical connections.

The 1962 stock was in need of a replacement by the early 1990s, this came in the form of the 1992 stock which was developed from a prototype 1986 stock. The last passenger service on the Central line for the 1962 stock was on 17 February 1995, where some of the stock was transferred to the Northern line to allow for the withdrawal of the non-standard 1956 stock units. The 1962 stocks service on the Northern line was short lived, with the last passenger service occurring on 11 November 1999.

There are several units which have survived as departmental vehicles in addition to twelve carriages, unit numbers 1416 + 1494 and 1744, being sold to the Epping Ongar Railway, however these where scrapped after being destroyed by vandals while stabbed in Ongar.

Driving Motor
Non-Driving Motor
Driving Motor
London Underground
Hainault depot
London Transport Museum
Acton depot
Both cabins only

Key dates

12 April 1962
First Central line service
17 October 1979
Last operation of Aldwych shuttle
First Northern line Service
17 February 1995
Last operation Central line
11 November 1999
Last Northern line service


1959 stock on the Northern line near Morden station

1959 stock on the Northern line at Charring Cross station

1962 stock on the Central line at Loughton station

1962 stock on the Central line at Grange Hill station

1962 stock interior

1962 stock Special at sidings

Video Box

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A few selected videos about the 1959/62 stock from YouTube.